New EU agreement on voluntary measures to detect and report child sexual abuse online welcomed

Published:  Fri 30 Apr 2021

The Internet Watch Foundation has welcomed the agreement of a new interim regulation which aims to enable the identification and rescue of victims and reduce the “further dissemination of child sexual abuse”.

Yesterday (April 29), the European Parliament, European Council, and European Commission concluded the trialogue negotiations and reached a political agreement on interim rules for voluntary detection measures by online service providers.

The agreement paves the way for online communications services to take voluntary measures to detect and report child sexual abuse online and to remove child sexual abuse material.

In December, the IWF raised concerns that new rules under the e-Privacy Directive, which came into force on December 21, could make it illegal for tech companies to scan online messages for suspected child sexual abuse material.

The new interim regulation will allow a three year derogation from this, allowing companies to continue working to make the internet a safer place.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “We welcome this agreement, and hope it can set the foundations for a safer internet going forward.

“As always, the devil will be in the detail, but we are pleased to see steps in the right direction are being made, and that common sense seems to be prevailing.

“We look forward to working with our European partners and with the industry to make sure children are always put first, and their wellbeing and safety protected.”

According to the European Commission: “The voluntary measures play an important role in enabling the identification and rescue of victims and reducing the further dissemination of child sexual abuse material, and contribute to the identification and investigation of offenders as well as the prevention of offences.”

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